In keeping with the rugged, yet cheery spirit of Appalachia, Dollywood remains open through much of the winter. This extended season allows the theme park to make the most of the holidays with Christmas shows, lights, and a variety of festivities. It also, however, lends additional complications that are rarely present during straightforward spring or summer visits. Some rides are far less hospitable when blustery conditions arrive — if they’re open at all. Clothing choices take on a far greater degree of significance. Suddenly, routes you might have navigated leisurely in warmer weather feel a bit more urgent.
It’s perfectly understandable if the chilly weather has you reluctant to hit up Dollywood in the winter. If you’re willing to brave the cold, however, you will be rewarded with a glimpse of Dollywood at its most beautiful and most inviting. There’s something truly special about the theme park’s winter vibes that just cannot be captured during any other season. What’s more, it really isn’t that difficult to pack for winter visits — or to find new ways to enjoy yourself. Keep reading to learn how you can stay warm while making the most of Dollywood’s festive winter atmosphere.
Temperatures can vary significantly throughout the day — especially during the fall. Morning chill may quickly give way to surprising warmth during the afternoon, with temperatures dropping precipitously in time for the sunset. If you intend to remain comfortable throughout the day, you’ll want to wear plenty of layers, which can easily be added and removed as necessary. Some of the most important — but most commonly forgotten — items include hats, mittens, and warm socks, which can make a huge difference as the temperature drops. Don’t forget about footwear. A warm pair of hiking boots can make a huge difference in your general comfort.
Plan Alternative Activities In Case the Rides Close
In especially cold weather, several of Dollywood’s most beloved rides may close. Thankfully, there are plenty of other entertaining options available at the theme park, which is home to a whole host of exciting shows, restaurants, and stores. Check the weather report before you leave for the day — and come up with a backup plan to ensure that you still have a good time if you’re unable to hit up your favorite rides.
Stop By the Sweet Shoppe For Hot Chocolate
Few indulgences are quite as enjoyable in cold weather as cozying up with a cup of hot chocolate. The Sweet Shoppe may be best known for its delicious confections, but it also offers hot cocoa and other delightful beverages that will quickly warm you up on a chilly day. Coffee is also an excellent option; you can find it at Aunt Granny’s Restaurant, Back Porch Concessions, the Front Porch Cafe, and a whole host of other Dollywood dining staples.
Arrive Early For Indoor Shows
Indoor theaters provide one of the best reprieves from the winter chill, but, as expected, audiences can fill up quickly as the temperature drops. After all, you’re far from alone in your desire to get out of the cold. If you’re determined to score a good seat, you’ll want to show up well in advance. Rather than stopping in at shows haphazardly, plan your visit based on venue locations and estimated run times. With a little effort and a little luck, you can scurry from one show to the next while spending minimal time in the cold.
Stop In at Dollywood’s Unique Shops
When you’re not part of the audience at Dollywood’s many spectacular shows, you’ll likely find yourself browsing the shops that you might otherwise pass without a second glance during the summer months. You’ll quickly discover, however, that these shops are just as exciting as the park’s most thrilling rides. They capture Dolly Parton’s appreciation for Appalachia’s artisans, who have worked hard to keep the region’s most cherished traditions alive. If you’re lucky, you’ll arrive in time for a demo. This will grant you a closer look at the hard work that goes into Appalachia’s finest crafts. If nothing else, Dollywood’s unique stores allow you to get a head start on holiday shopping.
Hit Up Wildwood Grove’s Hidden Hollow Play Area
The addition of Wildwood Grove has proven a boon for parents, who may struggle to keep their kids entertained at Dollywood’s shows or in the theme park’s many stores. Wildwood Grove, however, is a child’s dream come true — and its indoor playground serves as the ultimate opportunity for parents to take a break. Kids will have no trouble entertaining themselves with towers, slides, and much more. This climate-controlled location is a top destination in all seasons, as it is air-conditioned in the summer and heated in the winter.
Winter in Dollywood is far from a time of sacrifice — it’s a time of celebration! Pack appropriately, and you’ll have no trouble staying warm as you experience the unique vibes of the theme park’s winter season.